Fin Tech

Tech to help investors make the right decisions

Written by Danielle Teboul on Digilah (Tech Thought Leadership).

Technology has become so integrated in our day to day lives, I believe it has totally changed the way I do business. Not only this, but it has also helped my clients in gaining more knowledge and confidence in what they are investing in.

This in turn, has helped me in my business, as I believe that knowledge is key to success. I am a Personal Wealth Manager who specializes in bespoke financial planning for clients in Singapore, blending personal and professional financial advice with all-important tax planning.

I wanted to share with everyone that platforms and tools I currently use to help my clients, plus some tools that the everyday investor can use to successfully plan, visualize and research your investments and finances.

FE Analytics

This online platform is a complete game-changer for me. FE Analytics is more worthwhile for financial planners, investment analysts and others in the finance space.

The subscription fee is quite substantial, but it is an invaluable tool. I use it to create portfolios for clients, review and project investments and compare their current portfolios with bespoke ones I have created for them.

What I love about this platform is that it will gather global data, from companies like Bloomberg, Yahoo Finance and others of the sort, to compare key investment data points. To name a few such as performance vs. benchmark, volatility, risk and even ESG rating.

Volatility and risk are an excellent thing to show to clients, as they can clearly see how erratic their investments are in comparison to their performance.

In today’s ever-changing world, many of my clients are become more conscientious and circular economy-focused, so being able to show an ESG rating adds value to them.

Even though an average investor may not have access to this platform, it is important to know that every legitimate investment will have a code, which can and should be easily found on websites, such as Yahoo Finance.

So that clients can clearly see the funds’ performance, fees and charges, and have full transparency in information of the investment. If you cannot find this number, or there is no information online about your investment, this could be a red flag.

OPAL Fintech

OPAL is one digital business account for your business and financial needs.

I really enjoy using this platform because it is a perfect visualization of a person’s goals, dreams, aspirations and current situation.

All I have to do is input a client’s cash flow, assets, debt, and then discuss with them their financial goals. This may be plans for retirement, saving for a property, planning for a child’s education, or even leaving a lumpsum for their family when they pass on.

The OPAL algorithm will assess their current situation, factor is real-life data, such as inflation, and project how likely it is for that goal to happen.

Then, it can be tweaked and adjusted, showing multiple scenarios depending on how much the client is setting aside into investments.

I often feel like, because financial planning is very numbers-heavy, people can find it difficult to visualize their goals clearly. I don’t have that issue with OPAL, because the graphics and projections perfectly paint the picture for the client.

Budgeting Platforms

But what if you do not have access to these paid platforms?

 I would first off recommend tracking your cashflow on a monthly basis and being conscious of your assets vs. debts.

There are loads of budgeting apps that you can use. For example, DBS Online Banking has an interface that illustrates your monthly inflowing cash and outgoings.

If you’d like something a bit more in depth, so that you can go through these figures with a find-toothed comb, I recommend apps like Zenmoney, Monny or Spendee; all of these (and one’s similar) are free and user-friendly for the consumer.

Some will consolidate your spending habits into presentable data and graphics, others will incorporate some gamification in order to encourage you to hit your spending and saving goals.

There are many on the market in Singapore, and you just have to play around and find whatever works for you.

I prefer to use the DBS NAV Planner paired with an Excel spreadsheet, but others may prefer the other apps mentioned here.

Stock Screener

If you are investing in individual stocks, or if your portfolio comprises of equities, you can always use stock screeners to check key analytics like the market cap, yield and sector.

You can also delve further into the figures and statistics, like viewing the past 5 years performance and other metrics.

You can also check company announcements and financial statements, which is perfect for those investors that like to research in depth. For Singapore stock exchange, you can use

General Learning & Boosting Your Knowledge

As I mentioned at the start of my article, knowledge is power.

If you don’t have a basic level of knowledge, this is quite often the blockade that is stopping you from investing, which means that your money is being eroded by inflation.

 You may be concerned of misinformation out there, but don’t worry, there are many great, informative platforms you can use to educate yourself.

The first is Investopedia, which is essentially a Wikipedia for all things money and investing. Here you can find simple to understand financial concepts, investment terms and even information on past historical events in the finance world.

The Balance is a great website that hosts a wide range of information, from which loans give the best rates, what stock market apps are easy to use, to how to discuss finances with your children.

This is really a font of knowledge and a go-to for anyone who just wants to get more clued up on finance. I would of course recommend keeping yourself up to date with news by checking out The Financial Times, Bloomberg and CNBC, as well as other credible finance media outlets.

In conclusion

In this world of technology, finance and investing have become accessible to the masses; what once seemed only for the super-savvy or wealthy, is now at the click of a button to almost everyone who owns a computer or smartphone.

This readily available information is not something we should shy away from; these are wonderful tools we can use to do our own due diligence and ensure that we are planning our finances and investments correctly.

Technology has pushed for a need for transparency in the finance sector, so what a better time to start investing! You have all the knowledge, resources, and tools to do so responsibly, and with some level of understanding.

However, for those that are not as savvy, or for those that have a full schedule, you may not have the time to commit to constant research. I don’t blame you- if it wasn’t my full-time job I probably wouldn’t either!

This is when you can lean on the advice of a professional, who will have all these tools at their disposal, with the added expertise and wisdom to help you navigate investing effectively in accordance with your risk tolerance and unique circumstances.

(Remember that if you are struggling to find information available online of an investment, to tread lightly, as a lack of transparency may also mean a lack of legitimacy.)

Most searched questions

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Food Tech

Food Security in Singapore Through Innovation with Innovate 360

Written by Science Centre Singapore on Digilah (Tech Thought Leadership)
Illustrated by Eric Lua

Founder John Cheng gives us a peek at Innovate 360’s development

90% of the food we eat in Singapore is imported. In order to have better food security, the Singapore Food Agency aims to achieve their “30 by 30” goal which is to produce 30% of our nutritional needs locally and sustainably by 2030. 

Currently, many start-ups in the food tech industry, such as the ones under Innovate 360, are using new and innovative ideas to achieve this goal. 

Food tech is an emerging industry that uses technology to find innovative solutions for food related needs. Through their inventive spirit, consumers can enjoy products that are not only healthier but are also good for the environment. 

In Singapore, food tech start-ups are one of the ways we can enjoy locally produced food!

Innovative 360 is a food accelerator that helps food tech start-ups to successfully grow by providing them with necessary skills, facilities, and fund-raising to help scale their business. 

Additionally, these start-ups are exposed to Innovate 360’s vast network and experience. 

ISawTheScience was privileged to have a peek at the development of Innovate 360 and its start-ups from its founder, John Cheng. He is also the director of Cheng Yew Heng, a sugar manufacturing company in Singapore, and a key driver in Singapore’s food innovation ecosystem. 

What was it like for you as a kid growing up exploring the sugar factory?

When I was growing up, trying to explore the sugar factory was like a wonderland. Basically, it was fascinating visiting different processes and understanding how we manufacture (sugar).

I never really knew much of the processes until I got into the business when I was much older. Before that, it was really just very interesting to see and smell. When you come to our factory, you can actually smell the sugar.

Did your experience growing up in the factory influence how you see the food tech industry?

When I was growing up, I kind of watched how a lot of our processes were done very manually. Some of the things that I wanted to do when I went into the business was to try to modernise this business and that was through automation. 

While automating, I met a lot of people in the industry who knew more than me. So, I tested with them and that kind of influenced how I went into the tech side, which, really, is all about collaborating with people. 

You know, business is about people at the end of the day, but it’s also tapping on the scientific knowledge of the experts in the industry to be able to help my business.

With that knowledge at our accelerator, Innovate 360, we have all the expertise to collaborate and help start-ups. 

What sparked your interest to start Innovate 360?

So, I started Innovate 360 in 2018 for the company to pay it forward, but also to find new products that we could sell through our distribution. So initially, it was really to find ways to help ourselves. At the same time, we wanted to look at innovation and create an impact through start-ups and that was one of the ways we see fit. That is how innovate 360 started.

Why do you think food tech start-ups are important to Singapore’s future development?

Food tech start-ups are important to Singapore’s food system and to Singapore’s future. They not only bring a very disruptive kind of business model, but also help to create new businesses or create some sort of new and bigger impact to what we are trying to achieve, which is a higher opportunity for more people in Singapore trying to create 30% of the nutritional needs by 2030.

In the future, do you see these new food products being used in local hawker centres?

For a lot of start-ups, when they create a new product, it tends to be limited in quantity. Because of that, they normally only focus on the premium market and because of that, people always have the conception that it’s expensive, but sustainability doesn’t need to be just for the rich. 

Sustainability should be for everybody. I hope that our start-up products will be for the mass market eventually. Once the scale is reached, then we are able to lower costs as well. 

I hope the start-ups quickly find themselves in the market. It takes a lot of consumer awareness, knowledge and demand that will help them to drive future demands and then production and that will lower their cost. 

To answer your question, I guess it will eventually be at hawker centres. So maybe, the next time you have char kway teow, then it will be char kway teow with plant-based egg or even cell-based cockles.

With your experience in both business and innovation, what is your message to aspiring entrepreneurs in Singapore who are eager to start their own food-tech start-up? 

My advice to aspiring start-ups is — always try it, go for it but know your consumers, know who you are selling to, know what you are trying to do at the end of the day and with that, improve Singapore’s food system and you would be able to be successful start-ups.

I really hope that aspiring start-ups think about getting into food entrepreneurship. They would think about their customer, what problems they can actually solve, and then, from there, they will have a very supportive ecosystem here. Chances are that they will be very successful as well. 

And I think it is about today’s goal — it is really about collaborating with others. If you don’t have some knowledge on how, it’s always good to work with someone who has.

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Science Centre Singapore

HR Tech

Gig Economy vs Traditional Economy: Impact of Covid-19 in Singapore

Written by SJ Phua on Digilah (Tech Thought Leadership)

What will be the future of all the office spaces!

What is a traditional economy?

A traditional economy is a business whereby company’s employ people on a full-time basis to carry out task stated out by the company. The pros are there is a structured career path in the company and they are well paid in terms of salary and benefits such as leave, insurance and trainings. The cons are usually the company is not flexible in certain decisions such as – work hours are fixed at 9-6pm and they incur high operating cost such as manpower, office, and insurance.

Technology have brought about changes in life as well as the economy we know today. Gig economy start to trend recently especially with the booming of technology app companies such as Grab, Uber, Airbnb etc. These companies employ people on a part-time/contract/freelancing basis to complete a task stated out by the company. The pros typically are the flexibility of time, allowing the hired people to work within their own time management. The cons are they typically not cover under company insurance or have leave entitled to them as compare to a regular full-time staff.

Examples of a Gig economy

Photo credit from Mendaki Singapore Facebook

Impact of Covid-19 in Singapore

Since Covid-19 striked, a lot of business had to fold or change the way they work such as working-from-home, food delivery service for F&B. Traditional business that need to have office space or retail/F&B that rent space from commercial and non-commercial building in Singapore are hit the hardest during the lock-down and post lock-down period. Some businesses just simply couldn’t survive and hence retrenchment was on a rise during the period. So, we can see a shift in workforce that joined the Gig economy such as the grab food delivery service which allows people to earn money with flexible timing and arrangement. Even Taxi operators were hit during the period as travel restrictions were imposed and hence taxi driver’s lost a mainstream of income from visitors. Luckily, they were being deployed for short term role of chauffeuring covid-19 patients from point A to point B. Airlines were grounded during this period and SIA stewardesses were being deployed to hospitals as care ambassador during the crisis period to help out with lack of manpower in hospitals. Some who were out of job turned to entrepreneurship such as home-based business or hawkerpreneur to tide themselves over the period. Full-time workers who are still employed under companies have to adopt new ways and technology to do business such as hold virtual meetings over Zoom, doing tele-conferencing and working from home.

Examples of working from home tech jobs

Photo credit from

With the covid-19 situation under control at this point of time, businesses are slowly recovering. The question now is, would the Gig economy workers go back to a traditional model or does the traditional model break into new territory of Gig? Imagine, employees choosing to work on a hybrid mode of work from home and hot-desking anywhere instead of going to office, does it help the company to save on rental/ ownership of a building? What will happen if companies do not need an office space anymore? What is the future of commercial buildings like? Do drivers/ delivery workers of grab go back to being white-collar workers and hence create a gap in supply demand in the grab app?

I look forward to the future of the working landscape as to how technology will shape up both the Gig and traditional economy.

Wellness/Beauty Tech

Trust In the Age Of Digital

Written by Sabina Ariff/Munshi on Digilah (Tech Thought Leadership)

The skincare industry has always been a very traditional space in the way business was done. Heavily brick and mortar, mass targeting when it came to marketing, touch and feel factor was crucial and only the big boys had a stake in the game. Well, all of that is being challenged and the disruptors are here to stay.

The health and well-being industry went through a seismic shift during the pandemic when, time at home increased exponentially and the need to engage and connect reached an unusual high. This interesting combination led to niche skin care brands finding innovative ways to not only build a community but use digital platforms to engage, interact and show customers how to maximize their time at home while achieving that sought after glow and Zen vibe.

Online shopping platforms and social media tools gave brands the much needed space to create content that was amplified to customers who were hungry for relatable content and the need to find a calm in the chaos of the pandemic. Customers interacted with each other and shared feedback on the efficacy of brands and were not shy to voice their opinions about the drawbacks of a product. This forced brands not only to be transparent about their sources but also held accountable to high standards which in turn made online skincare shopping more appealing.

Taking this conversation forward we talk about business growth alongside trust and community in the skincare world. The natural and organic beauty product market is expected to touch $54Billion by 2027 and digital has a strong role to play in this. Direct to consumer on online market places has been a game changer and will contribute heavily to this forecast. Social media product tags will also be a big part of the sales numbers for skincare brands.

Never before has it been this pivotal for brands to be present and be seen on the phone screens of Gen Z to Millennials.

Baréskin calls its’ customer base the “CircleOfTrust” which cements how important the factor of trust is in a world where digital interaction is the only option sometimes. Community building and a strong story, backs this brands success and there is no looking back. Frequent LIVE sessions with the founder, supporting other female-led brands, taking transparency of toxic ingredients seriously and authenticity of its content are all part of the brand ethos which the founder has ingrained in all aspects of the business. This has to seamlessly translate to the customer which is when the magic happens.

Baréskin production unit

Capturing this wave will mean staying agile and on the ball more than ever before but fortunately for us, we take this challenge on as an opportunity to grow to our full potential.